On Friday (August 5), the National Investigation Agency (NIA) informed a special court in Mumbai that two of the accused involved in the brutal murder of Umesh Kolhe had celebrated their heinous crime by throwing a biriyani party. Umesh Kohle was killed because he extended his support to ex-BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma after Islamists started giving her beheading and rape threats for her innocuous comments on Islam and Prophet Muhammad. Reports indicate that the murderers of Umesh Kohle were attempting to behead him when they murdered him.
As per reports, the two accused were identified as 23-year-old Abdul Arbaz and 41-year-Maulavi Mushfique Ahmad. The duo was arrested on August 3 this year. Both Arbaz and Ahmad are residents of Amaravati.
The NIA informed that the duo went to a biriyani party, shortly after killing Umesh Kolhe, and how the incident was a reflection of their conduct. The matter was heard by Special Judge A K Lahoti, who remanded the two men to NIA custody until August 12, 2022.
The National Investigation Agency had sought 15 days of custody for the two accused and informed the court that the duo had been harbouring the other accused. One Irfan Shaikh, an accused in the Umesh Kolhe murder case, had dialled Maulvi Mushfique Ahmad after killing the Hindu pharmacist.
The NIA used this information to argue that all of them were part of the conspiracy. Reportedly, Abdul Arbaaz kept a vigil on the crime scene while Maulvi Ahmad provided logistical support to the killers. Arbaaz worked as a driver for a voluntary organisation named Rahbar Helpline run by accused Irfan.
While defending the two men, advocate Ali Kaashif Khan claimed that it was not established that they were involved in harbouring terrorists and thus could not be accused under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. “At most they could be booked under the Indian Penal Code section relating to harbouring an offender,” he argued.
NIA Arrests 02 Accused in Umesh Kolhe Murder case (RC-02/2022/NIA/Mumbai) pic.twitter.com/UAOCf1TNnk— NIA India (@NIA_India) August 3, 2022
On 3rd August 2022, the National Investigation Agency arrested two more accused in connection with the murder of Umesh Kolhe in Amravati, Maharashtra. The number of accused arrested so far in the case has reached nine.
Irfan Khan, the main culprit in the case, was apprehended in Nagpur. The other arrested accused include Irfan Khan (age 35), Yusuf Khan (age 44), Muddsir Ahmad (age 22), Shahrukh Pathan (age 25), Abdul Thoufique (age 24) Shoaib Khan (age 22), and Atib Rashid (age 22).
Yusuf Khan is a veterinary doctor and was a friend of the deceased Umesh Kolhe. Other accused are daily wage workers. The investigation into Umesh Kohle’s murder began in Police Station City Kotvali in Amaravati, Maharashtra.
Umesh Kolhe’s friend Yusuf Khan had spotted Kolhe’s WhatsApp message supporting Nupur Sharma, and had circulated it in other WhatsApp groups. He had also informed about it to Sheikh Irfan Khan, who runs an NGO. Irfan Khan then plotted the murder, and gave the responsibility of recce to Maulana Mudassir Ahmed alias Sonu Raza Sheikh Ibrahim. After that, Irfan Khan engaged four daily wage workers Shahrukh Pathan, Abdul Taufiq, Shoaib Khan and Atib Rashid, who had worked for his NGO earlier, for the execution of the plan.
On the night of June 21, Shoaib stabbed Umesh Kolhe in his neck. Initially, the police had said that this was a robbery gone wrong, but after there was a change in the government in Maharashtra, the police admitted that Kohle was killed for supporting Nupur Sharma.
On July 2 this year, the NIA re-registered the case and took over the investigation. The case has been registered under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) Sections 16, 18, and 20 and the Indian Penal Code (IPC) Sections 34, 153 (A), 153 (B), 120 (B), and 302.
A spate of killing have followed the comments by ex-BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma. Not just Umesh Kohle, a Hindu tailor, Kanhaiya Lal, was also brutally beheaded by Muslim assailants for the support he extended to Sharma. The Hindu tailor was beheaded in Udaipur on 28th June 2022 by two Islamists Mohammad Riyaz and Ghouse Mohammad. Following the murder of Hindu tailor Kanhaiya Lal in Udaipur on June 28, his killers Mohammed Riyaz Akhtar and Mohammed Gos escaped the scene on a bike with number 2611. 26-11 is the date of the Mumbai Terror Attack. The killers were nabbed by the Police 130 KM away from Udaipur at Bhim Highway. This case is being investigated by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).